On Wednesday, days before Joe Biden takes office as US president, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to improve his country’s nuclear arsenal as he delivered his closing address to a top ruling party conference, state television showed.
Kim is looking to catch the attention of the new Biden administration, analysts claim, with his country more isolated than ever to defend itself against the coronavirus pandemic after closing its borders.
In February 2019, a nuclear summit held in Hanoi between Kim and outgoing US President Donald Trump broke down over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange.
“While strengthening our nuclear war deterrent, we need to do everything in order to build the most powerful military,” Kim told the Workers’ Party congress, footage broadcast on Korea Central Television showed.
In the cavernous April 25 House of Culture place, thousands of delegates and guests, none of them wearing masks, constantly rose to their feet to interrupt his speech with applause.
Kim called the US “the fundamental obstacle to the development of our revolution and our foremost principal enemy” earlier in the eight-day conference, which lasted twice as long as the previous meeting in 2016.
He continued, without mentioning Biden by name, his strategy towards the North “will never change, whoever comes into power.”